1401 c/o Crispin Best

De Heretico Comburendo

(Note: due to the strong subject material, this story has been given both a happy [1] and an unhappy [2] ending. The reader is free to decide which ending they would prefer depending on their mood and disposition)

The Heretic was about to be burned. The Executioner told the Heretic that he was about to be burned. The Heretic was unenthusiastic about the idea.
      The Heretic thought about all the other things they could have chosen to do to him. He thought about being run over by a steamroller. He would definitely have pulled a face.
The Executioner walked away. The weather was hot. The Heretic was sweating. The Heretic thought about how he could use this sweat to escape. He couldn’t imagine.
      There were maybe eight or nine people standing around waiting for the Heretic to be burned.
      The Heretic was wearing a t-shirt and pyjama trousers. These people had pulled him from his bed. He had been dreaming about babies wrestling.
      The Heretic looked at the people. They looked back. One of them looked at her watch. One of them was on the phone. One of them was eating a sandwich.

1)     The Executioner returned. He was wheeling a small oven in front of him. The Executioner said,
      - Lo, I have baked a selection of Indian snacks.
      The Heretic looked at him. The Executioner said,
      - My friend. You are going to take them out of the oven.
      The Heretic frowned,
      - Do you have an oven glove?
      The Executioner shook his head slowly.
      The Heretic gasped. He looked at the people who were watching. One of them shouted to hurry up with it.
      The Heretic looked at the sky and took a deep breath. He opened the oven door and counted to three. He licked his hand and quickly removed the baking tray in one swift motion. There was a faint sizzling. It stung quite a bit. The Heretic looked down at his hand. The Executioner looked at it, too. It was unusually pink. The Executioner nodded.
      The people cheered.
      They came forward one by one to collect the samosa they had been promised and then they scuttled off back to work or wherever they needed to be.

2)     The Executioner returned. He walked towards the Heretic. The Executioner was carrying a box of matches. The Heretic sweated some more.
      The Executioner had to strike a few matches before one properly caught. He held it up in front of the Heretic. The Heretic shook his head. He closed his eyes and bit his bottom lip. He looked out at the people. Some of them were nodding.
      The Heretic tried to plead.
      The Executioner slowly brought the match forward. The Heretic said No. The Heretic said No. The Heretic said No.
      The Executioner held the burning match to the Heretic’s t-shirt. The fabric of the t-shirt singed a bit. The Heretic yelped.
      The executioner nodded. He shook the match to put it out. He turned to the crowd,
      - OK, kids. Show’s over.
      - Hey. What about our samosas?
      - No samosas, kids. Sorry.
      - Oh. But you promised us samosas.
      - I really am sorry.
      - You lied to us. That was uncalled for.
      The people folded their arms. They shook their heads and walked away. They were hungry and disappointed and they were extremely unhappy.